RHS Chelsea Flower Show Highlights.
If you are heading to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show this week, you are in for an absolute treat to the senses. I popped in yesterday to the fun-packed press day, and am happy to report that not only has my gardening mojo been inspired once more, but also that my inner yearning to don anything floral this summer is totally justified.
To be fair, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show is the perfect place to sport your floral attire each season, but this time around there was a plethora of gorgeous people dressed to the nines in bloom inspired numbers which fitted perfectly with the day.
But the style spotting is not all that’s fun about a day out at this annual feast of a flower show. It’s a celebration of all things horticultural. From the amazing competition gardens, through to the spectacular floral displays inside the Grand Pavillion, right through to the innovative garden design products and companies who are displaying their wares amongst all the fanfare. This year the emphasis is on wellness and mental health and the beneficial effects of spending time outdoors, immersing yourself in a little time in the garden will keep you healthy in body and mind along the way. With an RHS Feel Good Garden gifted to London NHS Mental Health Trust, this is a contemporary therapeutic space in which to relax. But that’s not all there is to see…
The David Harber and Savills Garden by Nic Howard
I was lucky enough to bump immediately into one of my lovely gardening journo friends Laetitia Maklouf who not only (literally) knows her onions on the subject, she also has an inspirational blog and podcast which encourages you to spend as little as 5 minutes each day in the garden as a beginner which is enough to make all the difference… but more on Laetitia in later posts as we are creating a fun collaboration series… watch this space.
So, with my trusty professional by my side, I started my day in the Artisan gardens which is not somewhere I would normally have gravitated to – being a celeb spotting junky and all, my first port of call is normally the Main Avenue. But the Artisan gardens are where it’s at this year. With smaller less busy displays and super thoughtful themes, each one tells a story or champions a cause which is well worth a listen.
Designer Kazuyuki Ishihara looking dapper.
My favourite was the O-mo-te-na-shi no NIWA – The Hospitality Garden by Kazuyuki Ishihara with this amazing moss creation worked in the traditional Japanese Ikenobo flower arranging art, I’m wondering whether he might be free next week to fill in the brown spots on a few of my beds. (Also for more on Ikenobo check out this workshop I went to recently).
Also loved the concept of this Supershoes Garden by Laura Anstiss – Laced with Hope. The Supershoes charity does fabulous work empowering children who have been diagnosed with cancer, where each pair of these sneakers is specifically designed for a particular child. The shoes are hand painted by a Super Artist to represent the child and all the things he or she likes.
Next up we hit the show gardens. Each one is offering a creatively inspiring vision combined with pleasing structural elements which blend the whole look into these beautiful and innovative show space installations chock full of inspo to take home with you.
Alan Titchmarsh congratulates designer Mark Gregory
This year the Welcome to Yorkshire garden by Mark Gregory has won – a celebration of all things Yorkshire. It definitely makes me want to head back to my old Uni stomping grounds and look afresh at the glorious countryside which surrounded me back in those days when I was too busy acquainting myself with the dark arts of student life.
Designer Jo Thompson walks guests through her Wedgwood Garden
LG Eco-City Garden by Hay-Joung Hwang
Charlotte Partridge creating an oil painting of the M&G Garden by Sarah Price
Bench by Nick Speakman from 3dwood
This tree house by Blue Forest was also a highlight – definitely try the slide though please note you have to be quite agile to get in through the wardrobe and Alan Titchmarsh probs needs a few more yoga sessions before he goes down it again…
I also love a sculpture and am always on the lookout to find interesting pieces for secret little places in our garden – although perhaps not on this scale.
It was nice to see local sponsors (or at least local to me) joining in the fun – this Silent Pool Gin garden emulated the silent pool where the distillery is based in the Surrey Hills.
The Seedlip Garden by Catherine MacDonald
The Myeloma UK Garden by John Everiss and Francesca Murrell
Inside the Great Pavilion, there’s a feast of floral fun. Right in the centre, there’s a celebration of the Windrush generation where Birmingham City Council has worked with RHS Ambassador Baroness Floella Benjamin to create a lively mix of Caribbean and British floral culture.
Talking of classic Brit culture, I found Peony heaven right here
Whilst the Marks & Spencer floral market display is also a must see.
If you have time pop into the floral design studio, even if only to enjoy the cooler climes, as the pavilion was already feeling a little claustrophobic and that was on a relatively calm press morning.
Once you’ve done the rounds, take a break at one of the many foodie outlets (with a glass or two obvs) before doing the whole thing again. I think I did three rotations and still kept finding new things to look at. If you already have your tickets – enjoy – the weather looks like it’s going to be kind this week. If you are itching to get there, there are still some tickets available here for Thursday onwards.
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